What is ‘safety’ all about?

By BEN COLEMAN, Safety Advisor to the Sun ’n Fun President

The subject of insurance was not very popular in my formative years. As a kid, I can recall my Dad complaining about insurance rates, especially when my older brother came of driving age. It was explained to me that insurance would pay you back if you had a wreck or got sick. I liked this “insurance” thing. Every year, you pay the insurance company money and if you have a wreck, they buy you a new car. Cool! If you don’t have a wreck, they get to keep the money. Not so cool! Not sure I like this “insurance” thing.

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A Pioneering spirit: One of many


By CONNIE SUE WHITE, Flying magazine managing editor and SUN ’n FUN Today volunteer guest writer

At Sun ’n Fun, there are signs everywhere indicating the dedication of what has grown to a force of some 3,000 volunteers who put on a six-day event hosting an estimated 160,000 guests — from the friendly faces of those standing at the ready to greet guests and answer questions, to those driving by in golf carts on their way to their next task, to the dedications inscribed on placards strategically placed on various buildings and benches, and even the names on street signs.

One dedication in particular caught my attention when I was onsite last Saturday morning: The Sun ’n Fun Pioneers Wall outside the Florida Air Museum. Some 230 names adorn the wall, including the name of the man I was scheduled to interview — Paul Hopkins.

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What a gift it is to fly. To fly and write is an even greater gift. For those of us who find our home in the sky, we have been graced with fellow aviators who have taken the time to put pen to paper to deliver us, through words, back to our place of belonging.

In the pages of their books these “skywriters” will take you along in the cockpit with the crew of a stricken airliner en route from Honolulu to San Francisco in Ernest K. Gann’s “The High and The Mighty” [Read more…]

Paradise on pontoons



Wouldn’t it be great to own the only seaplane operation in the Hawaiian Islands? Fly excited tourists around one of the most beautiful islands in the world? Sit on your own waterfront lanai, surrounded by potted palm trees, and never again have to look at a snow shovel? Sounds like your gig? Then you need to talk to Pat Magie, seaplane pilot and raconteur extraordinaire.

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A will to succeed

Jon Brown congratulates Ben Schipps on another successful seaplane rating.


Though all of us have heard stories about individuals overcoming physical impairments on the road to success, perhaps this tale is unique. Ben Schipps, from Venice, Florida, was born with only a third of a left arm and two hands that are catastrophically deformed. But he had a dream to become a pilot like the rest of his family.

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